Hospitals must postpone all non-urgent operations and limit capacity from July 17 to free up hospital beds in anticipation of a rise in coronavirus admissions, the health ministry said in a new decree on Thursday.
The decree, published in the government gazette, was issued after a record 1,120 cases of Covid-19 were recorded on Wednesday, alarming health officials.
Despite the fact the vaccination programme is progressing, with 68.5 per cent of the eligible population having received their first dose of the anti-Covid vaccine and 60 per cent fully vaccinated as of July 14, concerns were raised about the ability of hospitals to weather an increase in admissions.
A total of 5,724 cases of Covid-19 were recorded between July 8 and 14, while on average, between 150 and 168 patients were being treated in hospitals for the virus, the ministry said.
The state health services (Okypy) on Wednesday said they are expecting hospital admissions to rise in the coming days.
“In the past few days it has been observed that the number of patients in ICU is rising, which is worrying,” spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said, adding hospitals are going through a difficult period.
The decree therefore instructs that all non-urgent operations scheduled from July 17 onwards be postponed for patients who do not have life threatening conditions.
Visits to day clinics and outpatient services will be exempt from this rule.
A second measure included in the decree sets capacity for private hospitals at 70 per cent, and ICU capacity at 60 per cent.